How to Pick the Perfect Lampshade

Picking the perfect shade is a lot like choosing the right jewelry - it has to fit the place and occasion, complement without overwhelming, and draw just enough attention to be noticed.

What shape?

Pair like with like. Round bases look best with empire or drum shades, and square bases look best with a rectangular shade. Look at the curves of the lamp base, and echo the shape with the shade.

For example, a gourd shape looks best with a slight taper echoes the curves of the base.

What size?

Grab your tape measure. Your shade should be about 2/3 the height of your base, and the width should be
double the widest part of the base.


Like a slip, you never want your harp or lamp neck to show

Which material?

Here's where we think about function instead of form. If your lamp simply provides mood lighting (say on a dining room buffet), you can go with a dark, more opaque shade since you don't need the light. Opaque shades will only cast light up and down rather than around the room.

If the lamp is needed to really light your space (say for reading), you'll want something more sheer, like paper or light fabrics.

Shop the Look

Of course you can always choose a print or pattern instead of a solid lamp shade. This comes down to a matter of preference. Does your room need personality or texture? There's no right or wrong here, so go with your gut.

Shop the Look